The sadness of books and libraries

A few interesting posts on various book-related blogs.

John Baker discusses a course one of his colleagues is offering on the saddest books ever. I’ve only read one on the list (the Graham Greene), and as John points out, it contains only books written originally in English, which cuts out quite a few contenders. Well, the atmosphere in our house when we all finished Harry Potter 5 was "black" for days and days. Even more so when we finished HP6. Not "sad" books by the definition here, perhaps, but very powerful ones. I found "Cold Mountain" a very sad book. I have cried at many a book in my life, but I don’t think "End of the Affair" (the Greene in the list) had that effect. Of Greene’s books, I love "The Human Factor", which I remember sobbing over.

The Good Library Blog has been on a roll, with a run of truly excellent posts (I weep on reading them, for other reasons than them being sad literature). First, how to manage a library service, as done in Bloggington-on-Sea and, in a sane world, would be used as a template for the library service throughout the UK. Second, can we please have books and proper opening hours, not rock bands, in libraries?  Third, an opinion I am so relieved to read as I have always agreed secretly, the Dewey decimal system should be abolished! Please can libraries use an indexing system that users can understand and has some relation to how the rest of the world works? The DD system might have worked fine in the card-index era, but surely we have moved on?  Fourth, in an very un-English like initiative, a library has risen from the ashes. Others can take encouragement from the example of Bradwell. Even more radical, why bother with library fines?

Will someone please give Mr Coates a medal? Although he has to deal with the likes of Mrs Dumpling, I know who my money is on to sort out the UK’s mismanaged library system. And when Mr Coates has sorted out the libraries, I hope he’ll stand for prime minister (any party is fine by me so long as it isn’t the nationalists or whatever they call themselves these days).

2 thoughts on “The sadness of books and libraries

  1. I read Ford’s ‘The Good Soldier’ recently and didn’t connect with it at all. My father, on the other hand, read it before me and thought it was exquisitely sad.

  2. Oh the Good Soldier.. one of the best books in the world. But I know people who can`t see it.. which is what makes it an interesting too, as against the sort everyone says ‘Yes, quite liked that’ about and can`t think of a single other comment. I do enjoy your blog.. you would be welcome to mine sometime though it is off my website, so now set up as an independent blog – http://www.susan-hill.com the click on Blog. Mainly though not entirely about books and the reading and writing of them and more visitors always most welcome.

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